Did you know the relaxer was created by a BLACK man (son of previous slaves) named Garret A. Morgan in 1912 or 1913? He is also the same man who created the curved tooth pressing comb, the gas mask and the 3 signal traffic light!


Toxic ingredients of relaxers: sodium hydroxide (lye), calcium hydroxide, guanidine carbonate, guanidine hydroxide, thioglycolate acid, lithium hydroxide. Possible health effects of relaxers and activators are scalp irritation, skin burns, permanent scarring, deep ulcerations, skin drying and cracking, dermatitis, irreversible baldness, eye damage including blindness and weak, dry, broken and damaged hair. (FDA)

The main chemical used to relax Black hair has been sodium hydroxide – a dangerous alkaline caustic we call “lye”. Sodium hydroxide is used for many things; please take the time to google its uses when you finish reading. You will be shocked and it will make you question why we willingly put it in our hair.

Lye Relaxers work by breaking down the hair bonds which result in straightened hair. However, by breaking down those bonds, it is in fact weakening the hair strands. In plain English, the bonds are what gives our hair strength and relaxers break down those bonds resulting in weakened, yet straightened, hair strands. Relaxers also deplete (use up) the natural sebum that our scalps generate, strip all protein from our strands and dry our hair out.

Relaxers are highly caustic (able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action). With any relaxer or hair straightening/curling product, gloves must be worn to protect the skin from being burned, and a neutralizing shampoo and conditioner must be used to stop the action of the chemical. Take heed to the warnings and risks and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

There are also “no lye” relaxers on the market today, and the replacement chemicals are still very caustic. “No lye” relaxers are just LESS harsh. The warnings are exactly the same for both types of relaxers. None of them are “safe” or “gentle” to your body or your hair. All relaxers will literally burn your scalp and skin if you do not use them correctly. Most everyone with a relaxer is aware of what “scalp burn” is and what it feels like. Relaxers are supposed to be applied to your hair only. Because lye will digest bodily tissue, it is not supposed to touch your scalp EVER. Scalp burns lead to infection, irreversible hair loss, and in severe cases, permanent balding and discoloration of the scalp.

It is a fact that the first reports of the damaging effects of applying relaxers were published in 1971. One year after Dark & Lovely (not Black owned) launched the first official distribution of lye-based relaxers. The beauty industry continues to manufacture all kinds of products to assist you with the same problems they have deliberately created for us. There is a product for EVERY hair type or hair problem and a price tag on all of them.

Why do relaxers remain on the market?

It’s a big business, and because we are still not accepting of ourselves. Relaxers account for a big chunk of the money made in the beauty industry. Think of how many Black people are on this Earth. How many of us have fallen victim to the creamy crack? We are a race of people who have been brain washed into thinking we need these chemicals to make our hair manageable and more welcoming in appearance. We spend a lot of MONEY keeping it straight. On top of purchasing the relaxers, we also have to buy the tons of hair products needed to keep our weakened hair strands on our heads.

Will using a relaxer kill us?

Maybe! Today, scientific research has shown there is cause for concern with the use of the ingredients found in Black hair care products. These products enter our body via the scalp and can lead to many complications. Studies show relaxers cause life-threatening ailments such as reproductive problems, heart disease, different forms of cancer, early puberty, fibroids, and mental health disorders. Relaxers have been found to disrupt the chemical balance of our bodies by entering our system via cuts and burns. Don’t take my word for it. Look it up yourself!

Why do we choose to continue this?!

Only you know your WHY. Let us never forget the cultural and oppressive roots of our hair. It is MY OPINION that we are financing the very blatant hatred of our hair and making this industry very wealthy by doing so. The Black community is one of the biggest contributors to the billion dollar hair industry. We even own a piece of that pie because we own, create or manufacture products now. However, these products were created to alter our appearance; not to “help manage and tame our hair” as it states on a box of relaxer.

Our hair continues to define our social status and set us apart from a higher class citizen. This will forever be argued; but, last I checked, straightening our hair has never placed us on equal footing in this world. So why are we erasing our true selves?
How many Black owned products are there on the market today? A lot! However, I bet the ones you think are Black-owned are not. Google this one day. What you find will shock you for sure. Naming hair care products to attract OUR attention is called target marketing